Will my social media affect my college application?

May 23, 2016

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Strong GPA? Check. Involvement in a variety of extracurricular activities? Yep, you got that covered. High MCAT score? Absolutely. When it comes to getting accepted into medical school, things may be looking pretty good. But med school is very competitive, and not everyone who has good qualifications gets accepted.

Applicants are rejected for a variety of reasons. In some instances, you may not have a strong foundation in science or any shadowing experience. But in other cases, it may be what you did do and not what you didn’t that gets your application rejected.

If you are all over social media, posting pics on Instagram, tweeting like crazy and posting your every move on Facebook, you may want to think again before your next tweet. Could your online presence hurt your chances of getting accepted into medical school? The answer is maybe.

Whether medical schools admission panels will look up applicants online is not known. Some employers do check their applicant’s social media sites before making a hiring decision. It seems reasonable to think that medical schools may also check out your online presence.

Firstly, it is important to consider what might hurt you. Anything that shows you doing something that involves bad judgment is probably not going to win you any fans on a med school admissions panel. Using offensive language or being shown doing anything that can be misconstrued as illegal is also a very bad idea.

The bottom line is, you probably won’t know whether a medical school looked at your online profiles. But to be on the safe side, you may want to take a few steps to make sure your online presence does not hurt your chances.

Know what is out there

First things first, figure out what is out there. Do a quick search of your name online and find out what comes up. If photos of you drinking shots of whiskey and dancing wildly are online for all to see, you may want to remove them or make them private. Admissions panels know that college students won’t be in the library 24/7, but pictures taken in the wrong context could make you look bad.

Keep you online activity PG

176px-RATED_PG.svgWatch what you post. Keep the language and photos you post online clean. Don’t criticize former employers, teachers or wade into public arguments in forums. Use the ‘Grandma Test’: would you be happy with your Grandma seeing what you post? If not, why would you want a college admissions department to see it either?

Determine who can tag you in photos

Make sure you know what your privacy settings are on different social media sites. Some sites allow friends to tag you in pictures; others will need you to accept the tag before it appears on your public profile. You may not post anything embarrassing, but if someone else can tag you, who knows what will be online and how long until you see it?

Don’t share your password

Sharing your password for your social media sites is never a good idea. For example, a friend may only be playing a practical joke, but if they post something that makes you look bad, it can be hard to explain. It may also lead to your personal data being copied or stolen.

Social media can definitely be fun and is a great way to keep up with how all of your friends are doing, but if you’re left without a place at medical school because of it, the disadvantages far outweigh the benefits.



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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives, and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.